Public Restroom

4 01 2013

I went to the Seattle Center with Zack and his middle school band (although I’m not entirely convinced I’m old enough to be a chaperone) before Christmas so they could participate in “Winterfest.” I went to the bathroom at one point while I was there, and found this charming collection sitting by the mirror.


I think it’s some sort of lost and found.

But tell me truly: would YOU eat one of those candy canes?

R.I.P. Stinky

11 11 2012

The other night I took the kids to our monthly potluck at the church. We got there a little late, and I was tired. You know, the usual. I ate my food, and then ended up eating Colby’s food, too, because it’s different food than what we have at home so he won’t eat it. (Again, the usual.) I saw a lot of people I thought I should go and talk to, since our ward boundaries were just changed, but I was feeling pretty lethargic. So I looked around and tried to remember people’s names, when my friend came up and said, “I think your car might have been broken into.”

Seriously? My Kia is kursed.

I took the time to deposit my paper plate in the trash can before I took a deep breath and went out to the parking lot.

There was glass everywhere. I groaned a little bit. The driver’s door was open, and only the one window broken, but it wasn’t a carefully executed crime. Hasty, if you know what I mean. The car parked next to mine had its window shattered as well. In fact, that’s probably why mine got hit in the first place: it was conveniently located next to a big Expedition. Because I ask you: who breaks into a Kia?

A girl that noticed the break-ins first had called 9-1-1. I took the phone that she handed me and talked to the dispatcher as I looked inside my minivan. The bag in the front seat was gone.

She was giving me instructions, telling me what website to go to to file a police report, but I was terribly distracted.

The bag in the front seat was gone.

I handed the phone over to the Expedition owner and started to shake.

There was an iPad in that bag. And Colby’s backpack (yes, the one he wears to bed every night) that had his kindergarten notebook inside, charting his daily progress so far this year, noting the first time he answered a question asked to the entire class (hasn’t happened since, I don’t think). But the thing that made me feel like I’d been dunked in ice water was when I realized Colby’s dolphins were in that bag.

He had three dolphins that were identical. One, for some reason, was superior. Consequently, it was also the most chewed on, rubbed, and loved.

This extra-special dolphin was dubbed “Stinky,” because he really was. We took him camping,

to the zoo,

and to concerts and dance recitals. Any place that was weird, Stinky came with us to give us an island of normal amid the strangeness. If Colby could just suck on Stinky’s tail for a few seconds, we could avoid some meltdowns. If Colby could smell Stinky and give him Eskimo kisses, he could calm down faster. If Colby could play with the stuffing poking out of Stinky’s side, he had something to focus on.

I’m not gonna lie: Stinky made life easier.

So as I tried to assimilate that my car had been broken into and what I needed to do to get it repaired, my heart was wailing, “Oh, my sweet baby! What will he do without his Stinky?”

The hardest part for me is knowing the thieves glanced at those dolphins and saw a bunch of ratty stuffed animals: nothing of worth.

And they threw them away.

My sweet boy, who deals in the concrete, has no concept of the word “forever.” But my heart aches when he goes to bed at night, crying a little, and saying, “Dolphins all gone. All gone dolphins.”

I don’t care about the iPad. I honestly don’t. I’ve even been able to doctor up a backpack so that it is a fair exchange for his old one (although he hasn’t asked to wear this one to bed). But it really burns me up that my son’s best friend was stolen, and most likely discarded.

Because even though to most people Stinky was worthless, to us he is irreplaceable.


5 11 2012


We missed the bus this morning. We were running down the street to the bus stop when it passed by. Colby saw it, and wept. “No bus. No bus. Bus on Tuesday. Bus tomorrow.”

I took him to school, thinking he would enjoy running around the playground in the extra minutes before school started.


Even though the playground is one of his favorite places ever, he wanted to go and stand by the wall (which is what he does every morning when he gets off the bus).

So we did.

Hopefully the change in his routine isn’t a deal-breaker today.

The Wreckage–a Journal Dive

30 09 2012

I think my brain is on strike. Luckily, I keep a journal. That way, when I want to blog but don’t have the necessary brain power to pull it off, I can just grab something out of my journal, add a couple of pictures, and call it a post.

7 July 2012

It’s official: I am a mess.

Let me tell you about my accident, since I blame that for part of my messiness and fully plan on using that as an excuse for any and all flakiness I display for as long as I can milk it. “I was just in a car accident.”

I ate dinner and worked for awhile before heading to a nearby city’s Costco to pick up some pictures. (I almost never get pictures printed, but I’m trying to do better. Jeff gets all his stuff finished at Costco, but my pictures didn’t look nearly as good as his . . .) After a quick Costco run, I went over to the mall. I returned some things to Sears that I’d gotten from Lands’ End, then looked at dishwashers for a long while. There was a nice salesman who explained a lot of things to me about the dishwashers, and I was confident I’d be able to decide on one and buy it this weekend. (SPOILER ALERT! I didn’t.) It was 9:00.

I headed home, relaxed and happy and enjoying singing as loud as I wanted with the radio. I stopped at the light at the bottom of —— Road, turning left onto —— Highway. From there I’d hop onto Highway —— and sail on home. I planned on finishing my work and maybe prepping Eden’s room to paint the next day. Or maybe I’d just read a book.

The light changed, and I pulled out. A car honked. I saw it coming towards me way, way too fast. I remember looking at my green arrow, feeling it burn into my retina, and thinking, “Why are you honking at me?” And then I thought, “He’s going to hit me.”

And he did.

CDs flew out of the case on my visor, clattering down like a silver rain shower. My hands still gripped the steering wheel. I couldn’t see any damage from where I was sitting, but I knew it was there: I’d heard it, that sickening crunch. I’d felt the force of the other car rock me sideways.

My weekend plans clattered around my brain like the CDs. And even though I never swear, I guess sometimes I do because as I slowly finished the turn and pulled off the road as best as I could, I said, “Oh, shit.”

[Every time I read that, it makes me crack up. I don’t know why.]

I fumbled for my bag, which had flown off the passenger seat and was now nesting on the floor amid the CDs. It was full of notebooks and papers and receipts and checkbooks. I dug around until I found my cell phone, inwardly chastising myself for not charging it earlier.

[I will skip the next bit, as I called friends and NO ONE answered. That increased the awesome factor at that moment: no man Friday in sight.]

A lady had pulled over right in front of me. “Are you okay?” she mouthed.

I nodded. I tried to open the door to get out, but it only gave a crack. I clambered over the middle to the passenger seat, crunching on an empty water bottle on the way.

I was wearing a skirt. I’m sure it looked quite elegant, but I didn’t care. I already knew what all the other drivers were thinking as they went by, and it wasn’t, “Wow, look at that lady climbing over the seat in her skirt!” it was, “Wow, I’m so glad that’s not me.”

After assuring her again I was okay, the lady left. She drove around to the other side of the street to ask the other driver if he was all right. I moved over to a grassy area where I could see the other vehicle–it was a small Honda, probably a Civic. The entire front end was smashed in. Smoke poured out from under the hood and slithered into the sky. The driver had his head between both hands, sitting on the curb. Another man gave me a thumbs up with his eyebrows raised, as if to ask, “Are you okay?” I nodded, even though I was shaking harder than ever.

I was just in a car accident.

He rubbed his arms and mouthed, “Cold?” I shook my head. The day had been warm, and some of that still lingered in the air. If I had been putting my arms around myself, it was to stop the shaking.

This entire time I had been on my cell phone with 9-1-1 dispatch. She got all the pertinent information and said a policeman would soon be there to help. I thanked her, and was touched when she said, right before closing the call, “I’m glad you’re okay.”

I called the insurance next. He took all the information and told me he’d send a tow truck. He, too, said he was glad I was all right.

At about this point I realized there were about 15 mosquitoes on my legs, arms, and neck. [The “grassy area” I was standing in happened to back up to a wetland.] I swatted them away asĀ  a policeman drove up. He parked about 50 feet behind me and turned on his lights. He came up to me and asked me if I was hurt. Then he asked for my driver’s license, proof of insurance, and registration. Luckily, I had grabbed the folder containing all of those on my way out of the car. Well, except my license. That was in my wallet.

He took them and walked toward the van with his flashlight. By this time the sunset had faded to full dark and I was starting to get cold. Another officer pulled up behind the first–a lady. She was younger than me, and was pretty. But, you know, tough, too, in her uniform. She spoke to me, asked me some questions, I don’t remember what.

The first policeman came up to me. He asked me a couple of things. I noticed his bullet-proof vest on and wondered, “What would it be like to have your husband work a job where a bullet-proof vest is necessary?” Then he said, “I’m blocking traffic, so you can get in your vehicle before you’re eaten alive.”

That was a relief.

Tami texted me right when I got inside. It went something like, “Sorry I missed your call. Do you need anything?”

I said, “I was in a car accident.”

“Oh, no! Do you want me to come?”

“Yes, if you can.”

I sat in the car and watched the other driver across the busy road. I watched the lady police officer take pictures of my car with a digital camera. I watched a tow truck come and pull up to the other vehicle and pull it around to the Park-and-Ride lot.

I was just in a car accident.

The sense of unreality persisted as I climbed into the back of the van to close Zack’s window. I noticed the booster seats were in complete disarray, and Eden’s scriptures–which had been sitting in the back next to her seat–had somehow ended up in Rainbow’s seat. The Costco run items were a jumbled mess, but nothing was breakable so it didn’t matter. I saw three of Eden’s necklaces she had wrapped around the clothes hanger hook next to her seat, dangling. I unwrapped them and put them in an old Goodwill bag with her scriptures.

The policeman came to the door. He handed me a typed sheet with the information from both parties–names, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, and insurance information. “We don’t assign blame,” he told me. “The insurance companies do that. We just take statements. I may issue tickets, but the insurance company will decide who is to blame.” And who will pay, I assumed.

Tami arrived the same time as the tow truck. She hugged me, handed me a jacket, and laughed at my lame attempts at jokes. She’s such a good friend.

The tow truck driver got my van all loaded up and went over to the Park-and-Ride. Tami, who was astute enough to see the crosswalks that I couldn’t, led me around and over to the lot. The other driver had just left, so I never did talk to him.

The tow truck driver—Rick, with the $115k outfit [don’t ask how that came up in conversation, because I don’t really remember]—lowered the van enough for me to get inside and pull out the goods from Costco. I also pulled out the tools for the garden, completely forgetting that I had no way to get to the garden.

Tami took me home, unloaded my stuff, and left me with a hug.

I spent the next day just feeling grateful. So many things to be grateful for.

The thing about journal entries is, because they continue into the next day, they tend to be a bit inconclusive. I was grateful that I hadn’t been seriously injured. I was grateful I didn’t have my kids with me. I was grateful, also, that they were at their dad’s that weekend, so I could try and get my head on straight in peace. And they were able to fix the van, which was nice because it’s paid for. Blessings abound.

If you made it all the way to the end of this post, congratulations! You are truly a human being with an enduring spirit. I’ll try to post pictures of the fixed van soon. (As soon as I take them.) Because no one can get enough KIA goodness, right?

Just Call Me Sue

9 05 2012

A couple of weeks ago, Eden found the Halloween make-up and gave Rainbow some freckles. And not just any freckles . . . rainbow freckles. Naturally.

The next morning, I offered to help her wash them off.

“No, thanks,” she said. “I’m going to wear them to school.”

A boy in her class “didn’t recognize” her, and so called her “Sue” the whole day.

Ah, to be in second grade again.

Check My Sweet Ride

1 04 2012

So, for the past eight or nine months, I’ve been driving my sweet Kia van around with this on the side:

It was an extremely idiotic accident involving me and a gate post; I possibly put off fixing it for so long so I could pay penance for my stupidity every time I looked at it.

Penance has been paid, and it is in the shop as I type. My insurance policy covers a car rental, luckily, since it’s already been almost two weeks. Naturally, the van they rented to me is this 2012, automatic everything, double-DVD-playing beauty:

There’s nothing like a little luxury to put the Kia-tasticness into perspective . . . But I still say “no car payment” outranks “Town and Country” every time.


5 02 2012


The damage to the trees from the ice storm has been incredible. It seems every time I go out, I notice another downed or topped tree.

This is the heart of a giant shade tree near one of our favorite parks.

Pretty sure the bench I’ve sat on many times before is currently under all those branches.

The entire park was hit pretty badly. I think that besides the big shade tree there are five or six other trees in the park that look just like this one.

All over town, piles of broken branches litter the sidewalks.

And parking lots.

Here are three trees (yes, the breakage is similar in each) in front of my daughter’s school.

Lots of people lost trees in their yards, although I haven’t seen any that have damaged homes (thankfully).

The sight of that bright, fresh, unweathered heart wood shocks me every time.

Gratefully, trees grow back.

In other news, Zack experienced ‘anklegeddon’ this week.

Poor guy. It has not been a great year for him, injury-wise.

Yes, it is broken. Yes, he had to get a cast.

But it’s a walking cast, and he’s already been slumming around without crutches, AND we get to go back in two-and-a-half weeks to get it re-checked. Hopefully he can get it off then. Gratefully, bones grow back, as well.

In the meantime, pray for sunshine!


He can’t get it wet.